Back in 2014, Erica Cameron’s then-agent suggested the idea when no proposals seemed to work. Fortunately, those words sparked the beginning of Cameron’s Assassins: Discord – a very awesome, kick-ass novel with a diverse cast of characters.
The novel follows Kindra, a sixteen-year-old assassin and thief who has been working for her family’s business ever since she was born. She’s been trained to kill, but has no idea what to do when her father faults on a job. As a result, Kindra starts to question everything she’s ever known while also trying to handle the appearance of people from her past.
And although that seems like a lot for a teenager to take in, Kindra has it covered.
“For Kindra, I wanted her name to reflect what she is in the book,” says Cameron. “Her decisions in the beginning of the novel start a long chain reaction that completely changes her family and her life. Kindra is a play on ‘kindle’ as in ‘to light or set on fire; to arouse or inspire.’”
Kindra literally and metaphorically sets things on fire. One is the belief in her family and her past, and the other is the beginnings of a relationship with the Calver family – another family who is just as skilled in weaponry and undercover intelligence as she is.
Both families are completely different, and Kindra begins to see that there is more than one type of family relationship out there in the world.
“Families, like the individual people in them, can be so different. Some are awful, and breaking away is the best choice you can make, regardless of ‘blood ties.’ Some are odd, but supportive. Found, made, born, forced—there are a lot of different ways someone can be or become family.”
And slowly, Kindra begins to understand that through the new relationships she begins to develop.
In addition to diverse family dynamics, Cameron also focuses on diverse characters. She places people of color and mixed heritage at the forefront of her novel. Kindra herself a variety of ethnicities.
“[Kindra’s father’s] lineage is from Germany, Spain, Egypt, and Morocco while [her mother’s]is from United Kingdom, the Philippines, and Mexico, and is also Native American,” explains Cameron.
It is important to note, though, that her parents for the most part were removed from their ethnic heritage. (Except for Kindra’s dad, who “had a little bit of a tie to their Moroccan roots ]mainly with a few special dishes passed down.”)] As a result, Kindra’s “parents’ military training and lifestyle became the only culture she knew as life.”
Her parents’ military culture? Spyware and weaponry.
“I watch a lot of action movies. I blame those for everything,” says Cameron, talking about her knowledge foundation for the technology described in her novel. “[But] I did (and do) have a lot of technologically inclined friends and also a very good friend who is a retired Marine. They helped me with a lot of the answers I couldn’t find on the internet.”
To detail action scenes, Cameron asked questions such as “What does C4 smell like?” to her Mari
“It’s so easy to get sucked into a research hole where one cool fact leads to an article leads to a Pinterest page leads to another article leads to a video leads to a—well, you get it. If I had tried to do too much research before writing the book, I don’t think I ever would have started it.”
Thankfully for us though, Cameron started and finished a great thriller with a sequel to release in December.